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The Cost of PC Gaming

Posted 11-18-2013 at 11:05 AM by BeardedSonOfNel
Updated 11-18-2013 at 11:52 AM by BeardedSonOfNel

The new consoles are out (well X1 later this week) and the forums here are a buzz with “my console is better than yours”. In the mix of these threads you'll see folks also toss out something about the PC being better than any console. At this point the console guys will combine forces to take the PC guys down. The following is a list of the top four complaints I see console gamers making about the PC (other than PC gaming is dead).
  • PCs cost more
  • You have to upgrade them every 1 to 2 years
  • You have to configure every game
  • DRM

Lets start with the first one on the list: PCs cost more. Well it is true, a good gaming rig is going to cost you more on day one. I built a new gaming PC from the ground up this summer for just over $700.00. The new PlayStation with tax would have cost me $422.00, so my gaming PC cost $278.00 more. Now if I were to go with the Xbox One; that will run me with tax $526.00, so my rig cost $174.00 more. Now A cost I won't have with my PC is PSN+ or Live. Assuming the two new consoles go for say five years, and console gamers are spending $50.00 a year for online play... that comes out to $250.00. That's $250.00 I didn't have to spend to play COD, Battle Field, or a ton of other non subscription based games online. My PC has now cost me less than the Xbox One, and only $28.00 more than the PS 4.

The second item in the list is: You have to upgrade them every 1 to 2 years. No, you don't. There are some PC gamers that love to stay on the bleeding edge of Tech, but the system I built is slightly more powerful than the new consoles being released. A lot of the games I'll be playing are the same games running on those consoles. In fact the first batch of games run better on my PC. I don't plan on any upgrades for five years, and I will still be able to play any new release that is ported from the console. Any upgrade I do make five years from now won't require me to buy all new parts either, so in five years when I'm ready for next Gen the cost may only be a new video card.

The next item on my list is: You have to configure every game. PC gaming has come a long way over the last decade. Many of the games I buy are smart enough to read my system configuration, or my graphics card's software has a config file already in its database that will automatically configure the game for the best performance. Even if that's not the case it doesn't take much to configure the game to run well. All I have to do check a few check boxes and select a few items from drop-down lists. Bottom line is I spend less than sixty seconds doing a configuration that I'll never have to do again.

The last item on the list is: DRM. Not ever single game has it. Some companies are worse with it than others. However, I think this will be the last console generation that has less of it then the PC. From my experience over that last couple of months with the PC I haven't run into any issues with it. Maybe I'm lucky, but I think this is an overblown issue. Right now I'd say 50% of the titles on my PC don't have any DRM at all.

Some added bonuses I get from PC gaming:
  • Play how you want to play. I can use a mouse/keyboard, or most games now fully support game pads. I use the game pad 95% of the time.
  • Just as easy as a console to hook up to the big screen TV in the living/family room.
  • A real full featured internet browser (and not just one to choose from)
  • Access to more streaming video services that aren't locked behind a paywall like some consoles. (I also like that I don't have to pay for Hulu to watch last nights show on my TV. Consoles require Hulu Plus. That saves me another $100.00 a year over the console.)
  • Porn
  • Cheaper Games
    Now I know some of you will say I will be able to find console games just as cheap used on eBay, but I don't use eBay. Also a lot of games now come with some kind of code in the box for DLC that's on the disc. I wouldn't be able to use said code, and would have to pay for the on-disc DLC. At the end of the day between GOG, Gamersgate, and Steam sales I think I do better without the hassle of ordering, or driving out to a store that may or may not have what I want.
  • Backwards compatibility!
  • Emulators
  • Office
  • IDEs and SDKs
  • Mods (both software and hardware) Hardware mods are very easy to do with a PC and I'm not voiding some warranty!
At the end of the day I think the cost of console gaming vs PC gaming is a wash. Will I be able to get every game that comes out on the consoles? No, but then the PC has thousands of games that the consoles will never have either, so once again a wash.

That said, we are all gamers on this site, and we should game on the platform(s) we like. When the consoles get a price drop I'll buy them, but for now I'm fully next Gen and loving it.
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  1. Old Comment
    sai tyrus's Avatar
    Love your posts man. Keep it up!

    Great points. I think what it ultimately comes down to for most people is preference, especially when one considers the points you made. For me, after 21+ RRoDs, I spent literally thousands of dollars like a damn moron. When a PC breaks, I replace the part. Also, my games transfer across hardware. Good stuff. This, coupled with another friend's post, have gotten me thinking on writing something similar. Thankee sir!
    Posted 12-03-2013 at 07:43 PM by sai tyrus sai tyrus is offline
  2. Old Comment
    BeardedSonOfNel's Avatar
    Thanks for the comment! I hope to free up some time soon to add another blog to the list!

    On your point about preferences... I'd like to think that was the case, but I've run into so many people (even friends) that just think PC gaming costs more, or that you have to play with game settings for hours to get the game to work. Oh well, as long as they are having fun I guess that is all that matters, but I'd rather save money over time, have backwards compatibility, and a larger more diverse section of games to choose from.
    Posted 12-11-2013 at 06:40 AM by BeardedSonOfNel BeardedSonOfNel is offline
 

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